Bill Watch

Marion County small claims reform faces hurdles in Legislature

September 10, 2014
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court’s recommendation to merge Marion County’s nine township small claims courts with Marion Superior Court may be too bold for the Indiana General Assembly, a key senator said.
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Correctional services consolidation bill drawing fire

January 29, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
Community corrections advocates are worried that a proposal to consolidate the Marion County probation and community corrections departments would take local decision-making away from community members and give more control to judges.
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Does marriage amendment need to be amended?

January 15, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Legislature offers companion bill to explain the intent of the constitutional provision banning marriage between same-sex couples.
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Concerns exist over proposed sentencing bill

January 1, 2014
Marilyn Odendahl
The balance struck between the opposing demands of the prosecutors and public defenders in the proposed criminal sentencing bill may be upended during the 2014 legislative session, which could force Indiana to squeeze hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget to build a new prison.
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Support strong for treatment instead of incarceration in the DOC

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
David Powell, executive director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, strongly believes that addressing drug dependency and mental health issues can reduce the state’s recidivism rate and, in turn, lower the crime rate.
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Criminal code overhaul shifts focus to sentencing

December 18, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The exploding prison population was a key motivator for revising the state’s criminal code, but an independent research group has concluded the new statute will cause a quicker increase in the number of inmates.
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Many efforts arise to address abandoned property, few go forward

March 27, 2013
Dave Stafford
State Sen. Jim Merritt wanted to help an eastside Indianapolis church gain possession of some long-abandoned, derelict houses, tear them down and establish a neighborhood park. But it turned out there wasn’t much the law allowed the church to do.
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Giving felons a chance to wipe their records clean

February 27, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana General Assembly moving forward with expungement bill.
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Indiana Sen. Mike Delph's bills raise brows in legal community

February 13, 2013
Dave Stafford
Senator drops "loser pays" attorney fees plan, but other bills target grand juries and propose retention supermajority.
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6 bills in Indiana Statehouse aimed at slowing the manufacture of meth

February 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The description Rodney Cummings gives of Madison County makes the central Indiana area sound like a war zone. The source of the problem is the manufacture and abuse of methamphetamine, a volatile mix of medicine and toxins that forms a highly addictive drug.
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Eliminating judges’ mandatory retirement to get hearing

February 5, 2013
Dave Stafford
A bill to eliminate mandatory retirement at age 75 for Indiana Supreme Court justices and Court of Appeals judges will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
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Protecting students from the worst

January 16, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
An increased focus on school safety is expected in Indiana Legislature this session.
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Proposals would add visas for STEM workers

June 6, 2012
Dave Stafford
Highly skilled immigrants are the focus of 2 bills introduced in Congress.
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Indiana legislative round-up

March 28, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
A snapshot of key points from bills heard in the 2012 legislative session. All enrolled acts were signed by the governor by March 20.
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Bill would increase funds for pro bono districts

January 18, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
The modest filing fee could help offset declining IOLTA funds.
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Environmental bills to watch

February 16, 2011
Rebecca Berfanger
A number of bills with environmental impact have been introduced in both houses of the Indiana Legislature for 2011.
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Anti-piracy legislation tackles IP enforcement

October 13, 2010
Michael Hoskins
The notion of pirates pillaging treasures and bartering it on the high seas isn’t that far fetched for Indianapolis intellectual property attorney Jonathan Polak.
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Legislature's end suspenseful for legal community

March 15, 2010
Michael Hoskins
As the Indiana General Assembly got down to its final hours in a short-session, significant changes for the Hoosier legal community were on the table to possibly increase the number of appellate judges, change how one county chooses its trial judges, and impact how juveniles can be placed outside the state.
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Lawmakers mull veto override on merit selection

March 11, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Vetoed legislation that would scrap St. Joseph County's merit selection for judicial elections and also add a new three-judge panel to the Indiana Court of Appeals is back in play.
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House OKs child support-casino bill

March 3, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Lawmakers have passed a bill that allows the Indiana Department of Child Services to more efficiently collect delinquent child support, including a gaming intercept requiring casinos to check whether gamers are on a state delinquency list before releasing large jackpots to them.
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What the attorney general is watching

February 5, 2010
Jennifer Nelson
The session is about halfway over, but there are still several bills making their way through the General Assembly that the Indiana Attorney General's Office is watching.
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Juvenile justice bill passes Senate

February 3, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A bill that incorporated suggestions from attendees and organizers of an Indiana State Bar Association-sponsored juvenile justice summit last summer passed the Indiana Senate 45-3 Feb. 18.
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Bill seeks to repeal placements statute

January 20, 2010
Michael Hoskins
Lawmakers are considering legislation that would repeal a last-minute 2009 special session provision that gave the Indiana Department of Child Services key control in deciding whether juveniles should be placed outside the state.
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Provision in new bill would withhold 'big' wins from deadbeat parents

January 20, 2010
Michael Hoskins
State lawmakers want to crack down on child support collections and make it tougher for deadbeat parents to not pay what's owed.
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Summit spurs school-focused bill

January 20, 2010
Rebecca Berfanger
A juvenile justice summit by the Indiana State Bar Association in August has led to the introduction of a bill that would change how students are treated in schools and hopefully decrease the number of school suspensions while increasing statewide graduation rates.
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  1. Whether you support "gay marriage" or not is not the issue. The issue is whether the SCOTUS can extract from an unmentionable somewhere the notion that the Constitution forbids government "interference" in the "right" to marry. Just imagine time-traveling to Philadelphia in 1787. Ask James Madison if the document he and his fellows just wrote allowed him- or forbade government to "interfere" with- his "right" to marry George Washington? He would have immediately- and justly- summoned the Sergeant-at-Arms to throw your sorry self out into the street. Far from being a day of liberation, this is a day of capitulation by the Rule of Law to the Rule of What's Happening Now.

  2. With today's ruling, AG Zoeller's arguments in the cases of Obamacare and Same-sex Marriage can be relegated to the ash heap of history. 0-fer

  3. She must be a great lawyer

  4. Ind. Courts - "Illinois ranks 49th for how court system serves disadvantaged" What about Indiana? A story today from Dave Collins of the AP, here published in the Benton Illinois Evening News, begins: Illinois' court system had the third-worst score in the nation among state judiciaries in serving poor, disabled and other disadvantaged members of the public, according to new rankings. Illinois' "Justice Index" score of 34.5 out of 100, determined by the nonprofit National Center for Access to Justice, is based on how states serve people with disabilities and limited English proficiency, how much free legal help is available and how states help increasing numbers of people representing themselves in court, among other issues. Connecticut led all states with a score of 73.4 and was followed by Hawaii, Minnesota, New York and Delaware, respectively. Local courts in Washington, D.C., had the highest overall score at 80.9. At the bottom was Oklahoma at 23.7, followed by Kentucky, Illinois, South Dakota and Indiana. ILB: That puts Indiana at 46th worse. More from the story: Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, Colorado, Tennessee and Maine had perfect 100 scores in serving people with disabilities, while Indiana, Georgia, Wyoming, Missouri and Idaho had the lowest scores. Those rankings were based on issues such as whether interpretation services are offered free to the deaf and hearing-impaired and whether there are laws or rules allowing service animals in courthouses. The index also reviewed how many civil legal aid lawyers were available to provide free legal help. Washington, D.C., had nearly nine civil legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty, the highest rate in the country. Texas had the lowest rate, 0.43 legal aid lawyers per 10,000 people in poverty. http://indianalawblog.com/archives/2014/11/ind_courts_illi_1.html

  5. A very thorough opinion by the federal court. The Rooker-Feldman analysis, in particular, helps clear up muddy water as to the entanglement issue. Looks like the Seventh Circuit is willing to let its district courts cruise much closer to the Indiana Supreme Court's shorelines than most thought likely, at least when the ADA on the docket. Some could argue that this case and Praekel, taken together, paint a rather unflattering picture of how the lower courts are being advised as to their duties under the ADA. A read of the DOJ amicus in Praekel seems to demonstrate a less-than-congenial view toward the higher echelons in the bureaucracy.

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